In 1978, the City of O’Fallon purchased both the Historic Heald Home and park property on which it stood for $1 from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. When the O’Fallon Community Foundation was formed in 1998, the Foundation adopted the preservation of the Darius Heald House in Fort Zumwalt Park as their first project. Foundation members worked with the Board of Aldermen and City staff to restore this historic home.
In 2001, the City restored the Heald Home, maintaining the original interior woodwork and reopening the fireplaces throughout the house. Since then, the Heald Home has served as one of the City’s historic attractions.
Tours of the Heald Home
Zumwalt's Fort is open for tours on May 1, May 23 and the 2nd and 4th Sundays in June through September from Noon – 3 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, children 10 and under are free. Your admission fee includes access to the Zumwalt's Fort attraction, as well. Private / group tours of 10 or more available with a minimum 2-week notice. For more information, please call 636-379-5502 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Heald Family Story
Darius Heald was born in Jacob Zumwalt's homestead fort on January 27, 1822. His parents, Nathan and Rebekah Heald, had purchased the property from Jacob Zumwalt for $1000 in 1817. Nathan and Rebekah's three daughters all died before the age of 22 but their only son, Darius, lived in the old Zumwalt cabin for most of his life.
In 1884 at the age of 62, Darius built an imposing brick home near the old homestead Fort which he named “Stony Point.” Laurent Torno Jr., a local architect renowned for historic preservation, described the original house as “German-Italianate-Victorian.” The home is a big farmhouse, “basically German in its severity,” says Torno. Although the Healds were not German immigrants, many builders and craftsmen in the area were.
The house has a hipped roof, similar to other 19th century brick buildings in downtown O’Fallon. In photos of the original house, the Italian influence could be seen in the details of the supporting columns of the porch and the railing on the balcony. When it was finished in the 1880’s, the house must have seemed like a palace to Darius Heald, compared to the log cabin he’d lived in for 62 years.
Torno noted some unusual features of the house such as the graining, or painting of the interior woodwork to resemble more expensive wood. Secondly, the Healds burned coal instead of wood in their fireplaces. German immigrants, who came from an area where wood was very precious, thought wood burning was wasteful.
Darius Heald passed away in 1904 at the age of 83. In 1915, the upper story of the house was destroyed by a tornado. The family began the rebuilding process by gathering bricks blown into the yard and when it was repaired, the house stood about 12 inches shorter than when it was first built. Darius’ descendants sold the property in 1916 and over the years, it had a number of owners. Eventually the house fell into disrepair until the City of O'Fallon and the O'Fallon Community Foundation restored it in 2001.
Plan a route to the Heald Home
1000 Jessup Lane, O'Fallon, MO 63366